CoDI DIY: Nine new tracks from a diverse cohort of singer-songwriters, R&B, experimental and post-folk artists who took part in CoDI DIY, a pathway aimed at music-creators who have not accessed post-school music education. This talented group of seriously talented musicians were guided by Pwyll ap Sion, and also received advice from a team of mentors.
Cara Ludlow: HYPERION
Hyperion is an original song inspired by a poem by Romantic poet John Keats, called The Fall Of Hyperion: A Dream. It explores themes of fragility and resilience, and how human beings respond to suffering and change. As part of the CoDI DIY project, I had the opportunity to work with composer Pwyll ap Sion, who created a beautiful string quartet arrangement, to support my guitar and vocal parts. Together, we wanted to make a dynamic and richly-arranged track, which still feels delicate and gives space to the lyrics and voice. Hyperion is recorded by James Clarke, and strings are performed by the Mavron Quartet.
Jake A Griffiths: BITTER OF THE SEAS (FROM A SOLEMN SOVEREIGN)
A Solemn Sovereign is a project that mangles the work of Chopin in hopes of finding something new within, it samples, elongates and repurposes part of his music until they become unrecognisable. The wider aspiration of this project was to take music of the past and bring it into a new sonic world and represent the feeling when delving deeper into the subject matter.
Kevs Ford: CEUNANT CYNFAL
This is one of a set of three compositions which are named after places that I love near my home village of Ffestiniog in North Wales. Ceunant Cynfal and Rhosydd are String Quartets played by The Mavron Quartet and Dros Y Moelwyn is an orchestral piece using samples recorded on Logic Pro X.
Cwm Cynfal is a deep ravine through which Afon Cynfal flows. It is mentioned in the Mabinogion and was a favourite haunt of mine growing up. It has amazing waterfalls and a huge rock in the middle of the river where it is said that a 16th Century wizard Huw Llwyd used to preach. Rhosydd is the name of an abandoned Quarry high up above Cwmorthin on Y Moelwyn, the mountain range north of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Dros Y Moelwyn references a walk across Y Moelwyn to Croesor on the other side.
Here is the first of the set, Ceunant Cynfal.
Heledd C Evans: AFTERNOON
I usually create situation and site specific sound pieces, intended to enhance how we experience the world around us. For the past few years I have been working mostly within sound art, but through the CODI DIY project I began to explore composition and creating music for performance.
This piece, Afternoon is an example of just that. It was composed as part of a longer soundscape comprised of field recordings, ambient sound, and compositions relating to and inspired by different times of day. As the name suggests, Afternoon was inspired by the slower pace of early afternoon drifting into the end of the day, heralded by a choral section. In this rendition of the piece, field recordings are mixed into composition to ground it in the natural world. The piece was composed for string quartet, performed by the Mavron Quartet and produced by James Clarke.
Francesca Murphy: TILL THE SUN COMES UP
In a year that saw a pandemic, lockdowns, and for me personally, a life threatening illness, music has been a source of relief and inspiration. Working with Cardiff collective Ladies of Rage has inspired me to try my hand at making my own beats, and although I still have a lot to learn, I have really enjoyed the process. Till the Sun Comes Up was written about those all night adventures that bring the city alive, when the alcohol flows and the dancing never ends, nights that have been impossible over the last 18 months. The song is a distillation of various genres and styles colliding together in a mini big bang! With a tribute to Greta Garbo thrown in. Why not?
Gwen Siôn: ANIMA
I wanted to use the project as an opportunity to try something different, to work with more traditional composition methods and to learn about composing and scoring music for strings as this is something I had never done previously. I wanted to work outside of her usual experimental practice in order to learn new skills and to try more traditional approaches to composition focusing specifically on scoring music for acoustic instruments.
Rich Thair: PANTEG
(Composed, mixed and produced by Rich Thair at Panteg Studios. Strings performed by Mavron Quartet.)
It has been an honour to work on the Codi DIY project, funded by Ty Cerdd. This was an opportunity for me to work with some amazing artists from Wales in at a time when collaboration has not been easy.
Panteg has been a wonderful chance to collaborate with Mavron Quartet, it is a reflection of the beautiful countryside that I can see from my studio window in Ynysmeudwy, the clash of a natural and industrial heritage. What better way to represent this than a track in 7/8 with Mavron Quartet who interpreted my ideas with patience and creativity. I added parts on a broken piano, marimba, djembe, various out of tune Asian bell percussion, jazz breaks and synths reminiscent of Port Talbot's influence on the original Blade Runner soundtrack.
Blank Face: OVER HERE
Over here is a go happy kind of track. The chorus defines a celebration or a toast to the good vibes derived from hard work and success. Blank Face takes a deeper dive into struggle and a sort of rise from the rubble, referencing ‘Hikikomori’– a person who avoids social contact – and depicting his introverted nature and focus on his aspirations as an artist.
The track production is in collaboration with the Mavron Quartet whose live performance was sampled in making the beat by producer, 10PM, and was mixed and mastered by one of the CoDI DIY mentors, Rich Thair. Blank Face hopes the track could be used to encourage people, while giving that crazy club vibe that’s depicted by the production’s unique bassline, creating a crazy trance in the air that compels listeners to dance.
Hannah Paloma: MYNYDDOEDD; ROSES
Two pieces came about during the COVID lockdowns – Mynyddoedd, and Roses – looking with an open mind towards a better time. While both songs are reflections and talk about escapism, they are very different pieces. With the aid of Tŷ Cerdd and the Mavron Quartet, I was able to add layers of nuance and joy to the pieces through exploring strings and their functions alongside my working style.
Mynyddoedd was composed originally using vocal harmony, the quartet brings such a vast timeless quality that is very reflective of the 'mountains' the piece is about. The lyrics were poetically translated by Gareth Sion and Gorwel Roberts. (Listen to it on Hannah's EP)
Roses explores how great the past was, looking back, and the excitement of the possibility to return to how things were, through the story of youth and blind hope. I feel, especially now, everyone is lacking a bit of that in our lives. (Listen below)